According to Variety, Paramount shuffled some release dates around yesterday, which is fairly common in the film industry. Disney and Pixar have surely taken notice as zombie film World War Z, which is being adapted from the popular Max Brooks novel, has been pushed from this holiday season to June 21, 2013, a date that Pixar’s Monsters University originally had all to itself. If the change holds up, it looks like monsters will be battling some zombies for the box office crown that weekend.
Monsters University was originally scheduled for release during the 2012 holiday season as well, but Disney/Pixar pushed the release date back last April. No reason was provided for the change, but it likely gave Pixar more breathing room to finish the film on its own terms, rather than rush it out to meet a previously scheduled release date.
On the other side, World War Z has been generating quite the negative buzz over the course of the last year. While the addition of Brad Pitt was a score for the film, news also arrived that the film would deviate greatly from the book. The book’s documentary-style plotline that was lauded by fans for its gritty and realistic portrayal of how the world is left reeling following a large-scale zombie infestation, would be abandoned in favor of a so-called traditional zombie thriller. While the film is unfinished and should not be judged before then, it has an uphill battle to draw in the book’s fans.
Additionally, with World War Z having a prolonged gestation period, the general public has yet to hear much from the film. The Paramount marketing machine is definitely going to have its work cut out for it, as Disney is unlikely to budge from the date. June 2013 already has its fill of big budget films with Superman reboot Man of Steel arriving on June 14, just one week prior to MU and WWZ. Disney also has the upper hand here, in that MU is a prequel to a film that already has an established fan base. Obviously seeking for the summer blockbuster fan, World War Z will nonetheless face quite a battle with the appropriate for all-ages Monsters University.
For a refresher, here is the most recent official synopsis for Monsters University:
Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan are an inseparable pair, but that wasn’t always the case. From the moment these two mismatched monsters met they couldn’t stand each other. “Monsters University” unlocks the door to how Mike and Sulley overcame their differences and became the best of friends.
Screaming with laughter and fun, “Monsters University” is directed by Dan Scanlon (“Cars,” “Mater and the Ghostlight,” “Tracy”) and produced by Kori Rae (“Up,” “The Incredibles,” “Monsters, Inc.”). The film opens in U.S. theaters on June 21, 2013, and will be shown in Disney Digital 3D™ in select theaters.
At the D23 Expo last summer, Pixar unveiled character designs for the younger Mike and Sulley, which you can view extensive coverage of here.